Educational attainment and hippocampal atrophy in the Alzheimer's disease neuroimaging initiative cohort.
INTRODUCTION: Subjects with higher cognitive reserve (CR) may be at a lower risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the neural mechanisms underlying this are not known. Hippocampal volume loss is an early event in AD that triggers cognitive decline. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Regression analyses of the effects of education on MRI-measured baseline HV in 675 subjects (201 normal, 329 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 146 subjects with mild AD), adjusting for age, gender, APOE ɛ4 status and intracranial volume (ICV). Subjects were derived from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a large US national biomarker study. RESULTS: The association between higher education and larger HV was significant in AD (P=0.014) but not in cognitively normal or MCI subjects. In AD, HV was about 8% larger in a person with 20 years of education relative to someone with 6 years of education. There was also a trend for the interaction between education and APOE ɛ4 to be significant in AD (P=0.056). CONCLUSION: A potential protective association between higher education and lower hippocampal atrophy in patients with AD appears consistent with prior epidemiologic data linking higher education levels with lower rates of incident dementia. Longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm these findings.
Shpanskaya, KS; Choudhury, KR; Hostage, C; Murphy, KR; Petrella, JR; Doraiswamy, PM; Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative,
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